Sunday, December 28, 2008

Contacts by the thousands

Why do some people have hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts on 'social networking' sites? I see this phenomenon on MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and recently, my beloved Vimeo. At least twice a week now I'm notified that I've been 'added' to someone's network. To date, I've yet to actually know someone that's added me. Invariably, when I look at their profile, they've got umpteen hundred contacts....

Where's the value in that? Is is simply some psychological tick where people don't feel good about themselves without a large number in the "Contacts" field? Part of marketing efforts (easy to spam large swathes with "send to all contacts" options?) General cluelessness about social networks? Just ignoring social conventions?


TMC said...

For me, it's the same issue of not knowing where to draw the line when inviting people to a party. For example, I want to invite a few people from work because I genuinely enjoy their company, and more to the point know them better than other co-workers. But, I don't want to leave anyone out because I hate it when someone does that to me.

Same thing about accepting an invitation. Some people I really want to get back in touch with, so I seek them out. On Facebook, the moment their friends see me on their list, I'm added to theirs. Then when I accept the connection, they never even bother messaging me. Strange.

With my Linkedin account, I make it a point to only accept people I've worked with in some regards, and would recommend to another person. But for me it is all about business connections, which are very necessary for each other's financial well being.

Jeremiah said...

I notice you differentiate between your LinkedIn behavior and Facebook - I wish other people would do the same.

LinkedIn has taken specific pains to make their connections more worthwhile - less temporal - than some other 'social networking' communities.